Project Canterbury

Eikon Basilike,
Or, The King's Book

Edited by Edward Almack

London: A. Moring, Limited, At the De la More Press, 1904.
text from an "advance copy" of the first edition, 1649.


10. Upon their seizing the Kings Magazines, Forts, Navy, and Militia.

HOW untruly I am Charged with the first raising of an Army, and beginning this Civill Warre, the eyes that only pitty Me, and the Loyall hearts that durst only pray for Me, at first, might witnesse, which yet appear not so many on My side, as there were men in Arms listed against Me; My unpreparednesse for a War may well dishearten those that would help Me; while it argues (truly) My unwillingnes to fight; yet it testifies for Me, that I am set on the defensive part; having so little hopes or power to offend others, that I have none to defend My self, or to preserve what is Mine own from their proreption.

No man can doubt but they prevented Me in their purposes, as well as their injuries, who are so much before-hand in their preparations against Me, and surprisalls of My strength. Such as are not for Them, yet dare not be for Me; so over-aw'd is their Loyalty by the others numbers and terrours. I believe My Innocency, and unpreparednesse to assert My Rights and Honour, makes Me the more guilty in their esteeme; who would not so easily have declared a War against Me, if I had first assaulted them.

They knew My chiefest Armes left Me, were those only, which the Ancient Christians were wont to use against their Persecutors, Prayers and Teares. These may serve a good mans turne, if not to Conquer as a Souldier, yet to suffer as a Martyr.

Their preventing of Me, and surprizing my Castles, Forts, Armes, and Navy, with the Militia, is so farre best for me, That it may drive me from putting any trust in the arme of flesh, and wholly to cast my self into the protection of the living God, who can save by few, or none, as well as by many.

He that made the greedy Ravens to be Elias Caterers, and bring him food, may also make their surprisall of outward force and defence, an opportunity to shew me the speciall support of his power and protection.

I thank God I reckon not now the want of the Militia so much in reference to My own protection as My Peoples.

Their many and sore oppressions grieve Me, I am above My owne, what I want in the hands of Force and Power, I have in the wings of Faith and Prayer.

But this is the strange method these men will needs take to resolve their riddle of Making Me a glorious King, by taking away my Kingly power: Thus I shall become a support to My Friends, and a Terrour to My Enemies by being unable to succour the one, or suppresse the other.

For thus have they designed, and proposed to Me, the new modelling of Soveraignty and Kingship, as without any reality of power, or without any necessity of subjection and obedience: That the Majesty of the Kings of England might hereafter, hang like Mabomets Tomb, by a magnetique Charme, between the Power and Priviledges of the two Houses, in an aiery imagination of Regality.

But I believe the surfeit of too much Power, which some men have greedily seized on, and now seek wholly to devour, will ere long make the Commonwealth sick both of it and them, since they cannot well digest it; Soveraigne Power in Subjects seldome agreeing with the stomacks of fellow Subjects.

Yet I have even in this point of the constant Militia sought, by satisfying their feares, and importunities, both to secure My Friends, and overcome Mine Enemies, to gaine the peace of all, by depriving My selfe of a sole power to help, or hurt any: yielding the Militia (which is My undoubted Right no lesse than the Crowne) to be disposed of as the two Houses shall think fit, during My time.

So willing am I to bury all Jealousies in them, of Me, and to live above all Jealousies of them, as to My self; I desire not to be safer than I wish them and My People; If I had the sole actuall disposing of the Militia, I could not protect My People, further than they protected Me, and themselves: so that the use of the Militia is mutuall. I would but defend My self so far, as to be able to defend My good Subjects from those mens violence and fraud, who conscious to their owne evill merits and designes, will needs perswade the world, that none but Wolves are fit to be trusted with the custody of the Shepherd and his Flock. Miserable experience hath taught My Subjects, since Power hath been wrested from Me, and imployed against Me & Them! that neither can be safe if both be not in such a way as the Law hath entrusted the publique safety and welfare.

Yet even this Concession of Mine as to the exercise of the Militia, so vast and large, is not satisfactory to some men; which seem to be Enemies not to Me onely, but to all Monarchy; and are resolved to transmit to posterity such Jealousies of the Crowne, as they should never permit it to enjoy its just and necessary Rights, in point of Power; to which (at last) all Law is resolved, while thereby it is best protected.

But here Honour and Justice due to My Successors, forbid Me to yeild to such a totall alienation of that power from them, which civility & duty (no lesse then justice and honour) should have forbad them to have asked of Me.

For, although I can be content to Eclypse My owne beames, to satisfie their feares; who think they must needs be scorched or blinded, if I should shine in the full lustre of Kingly Power, wherewith God and the Lawes have invested Me: yet I will never consent to put out the Sun of Soveraignty to all Posterity, and succeeding Kings; whose just recovery of their Rights from unjust usurpations and extortions, shall never be prejudiced or obstructed by any Act of Mine, which indeed would not be more injurious to succeeding Kings, than to My Subjects; whom I desire to leave in a condition not wholly desperate for the future; so as by a Law to be ever subjected to those many factious distractions, which must needs follow the many-headed Hydra of Government: which as it makes a shew to the People to have more eyes to foresee; so they will find it hath more mouthes too, which much be satisfied: and (at best) it hath rather a monstrosity, than any thing of perfection, beyond that of right Monarchy; where counsell may be in many as the senses, but the Supreme Power can be but in One as the Head.

Happily where men have tried the horrours and malignant influence which will certainly follow My enforced darknesse and Eclypse, (occasioned by the interposition and shadow of that body, which as the Moone receiveth its chiefest light from Me) they will at length more esteeme and welcome the restored glory and blessing of the Suns light.

And if at present I may seem by My receding so much from the use of My Right in the Power of the Militia, to come short of the discharge of that trust to which I am sworne for My Peoples protection; I conceive those men are guilty of the enforced perjury, (if so it may seeme) who compell Me to take this new and strange way of discharging My trust, by seeming to desert it; of protecting My Subjects by exposing My self to danger or dishonour, for their safety and quiet.

Which in the conflicts of Civill Warre and advantages of Power cannot be effected but by some side yeilding; to which the greatest love of the publique Peace, and the firmest assurance of Gods protection (arising from a good conscience) doth more invite Me, than can be expected from other mens fears; which arising from the injustice of their actions (though never so successfull) yet dare not adventure their Authours upon any other way of safety then that of the Sword and Militia; which yet are but weak defences against the stroaks of divine vengeance, which will overtake; or of mens owne Consciences, which alwaies attend injurious perpetrations.

For My self, I doe not think that I can want any thing which providentiall necessity is pleased to take from Me, in order to My Peoples tranquillity and Gods glory, whose protection is sufficient for Me; and he is able by his being with Me, abundantly to compensate to Me, as he did to Job, what ever honour, power, or liberty the Caldeans, the Sabeans, or the Devill himself can deprive Me of.

Although they take from me all defence of Armes and Militia, all refuge by land, of Forts, and Castles, all flight by Sea in my Ships, and Navy; yea, though they study to rob me of the Hearts of my Subjects, the greatest Treasure and best ammunition of a King, yet cannot they deprive me of my own innocency, or Gods mercy, nor obstruct my way to Heaven.

Therefore, O my God, to thee I flie for help, if thou wilt be on my side, I shall have more with me then can be against me.

There is none in Heaven, or in Earth, that I desire in comparison of thee: In the losse of all, be thou more than all to me: Make hast to succour me, thou that never failest them, that put their trust in thee.

Thou seest I have no power to oppose them that come against me, who are encouraged to fight under the pretence of fighting for me: But my eyes are toward thee.

Thou needest no help, nor shall I, if I may have thine; If not to conquer, yet at least to suffer.

If thou delightest not in my safety, and prosperity, behold here I am willing to be reduced to what thou wilt have me; whose Judgments oft begin with thy owne Children.

I am content to be nothing, that thou mayst be all.

Thou hast taught me, That no King can be saved by the multitude of an Host; but yet thou canst save me by the multitude of thy mercies, who art the Lord of Hosts, and the Father of mercies.

Help me, O Lord, who am sore distressed on every side, yet be thou on my side, and I shall not feare what man can doe unto mee.

I will give thy Justice the glory of my distresse.

O let thy mercy have the glory of my deliverance from that them persecute my Soule!

By my sinnes have I fought against thee, and robbed thee of thy glory, who am thy subject, and justly mayst thou, by my owne Subjects, strip me of my strength, and eclypse my glory.

But shew thy self, O my hope, and onely refuge! Let not mine enemies say, There is no help for him in his God.

Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.

Keep me as the apple of thine eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings.

Shew thy marvellous loving kindnesse, O thou that savest by thy right hand them that put their trust in thee, from those that rise up against them.

From the wicked that oppresse me, from my deadly enemies that compasse me about.

Shew me the path of life. In thy presence is fulnesse of joy, at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.